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Epicurus (341—270 bc) Greek philosopher, founder of Epicureanism





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3, of Oenoanda,

author of a massive Greek inscription presenting basic doctrines of Epicureanism. The inscription was carved in a stoa, probably in the 2nd cent. ad. The inscription occupied several courses of a wall c.80 m. (87 yds.) long. In the lowest inscribed course was a treatise on ethics dealing with pleasure, pain, fear, desire, dreams, necessity, and free will; beneath it was inscribed a selection of Epicurus' Principal Doctrines and other maxims. Immediately above was a treatise on physics, the surviving sections of which include criticisms of rival schools and discussions of epistemology, the origins of civilization and language, astronomy, and theology. Above these main treatises were more maxims, letters of Epicurus, at least three letters written by Diogenes to Epicurean friends, and Diogenes' defence of old age.

Diogenes records that he was ailing and aged when he set up the inscription, and that he was moved by a desire to benefit his fellows at home and abroad as well as future generations. Although most of the inscription remains buried, the recovered fragments illuminate Epicurean theory and the activity of the school under the Roman empire. See epicurus.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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